360° Coverage : How Elders Are Building New Communities

2 Updates

How Elders Are Building New Communities

Apr 23 2014, 10:57am CDT | by

For decades, it’s been easy to answer the question of where we will live as we age. The options were few–our home or our children’s, a nursing home, or some form of large retirement community. Not...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

21 weeks ago

How Elders Are Building New Communities

Apr 23 2014, 10:57am CDT | by

For decades, it’s been easy to answer the question of where we will live as we age. The options were few–our home or our children’s, a nursing home, or some form of large retirement community.

Not any more. Unsatisfied with the limited choices of the past, seniors are creating an extraordinary brew of options, inventing new forms of community as they go. Some are grassroots neighborhood-based organizations, such as the growing senior village movement. Others are more ad hoc, where small groups of people—perhaps old friends or even strangers who share some affinity—choose to live their old age together.

In her fascinating new book, With a Little Help from our Friends (Vanderbilt University Press, 2014), veteran journalist Beth Baker explores these new aging communities.

The nature of experiments is that some will succeed and many will fail. Beth is too good a reporter to pretend the alternatives she describes are all better than traditional retirement communities. As she notes, a continuing care community might be an ideal solution for many. And some non-traditional communities she discovers are pretty grim.

For instance, she visited a facility that rented apartments to gay and lesbian seniors and advertised group activities, community dining, and other services for an active aging population. By, according to residents, the owner was non-responsive at best, community dining happened only when a resident bought pizza for the house, and group activities were non-existent.

Similarly, housesharing, where two elders agree to share space, chores, and costs, can be a terrific solution for people who are well matched.  But it can founder on the shoals of unmet expectations or incompatible preferences. What do you do when your housemate wants to keep the thermostat  at 72 degrees—a temperature you think is an immoral waste of energy?

But mostly, Beth (who is a long-time friend) tells the stories of elders who have found successful new ways to live and are creating their own communities along the way.

Some of the models she shows us have been around for decades. Communities without Walls in Princeton, N.J. was an early example of a local non-profit that provides a framework for people to help one another as they age. Hope Meadows was created at an abandoned air force base in Rantoul, IL in 1994. There, in return for reduced rent, elders help care for 36 kids who are living with adoptive families in this invented community.

In my own book, Caring for Our Parents, I wrote about the birth of Capitol Hill Village in Washington, D.C. Beth checks in five year later and describes a thriving neighborhood-based group that’s now become a—pardon the pun– mature organization.

But community non-profits are just one model that Beth explores. She also looks at many forms of communal living, such as naturally occurring communities where elders living in the same neighborhood or apartment building agree to share services. For instance, they could all chip in for a social worker who’d be available to help the entire community. And she looks at co-housing, where people move to an apartment building or development with the intention to share such services.

Beth also explores some for-profit alternatives, such as Full Circle in coastal Maine.  For a monthly fee, the firm provides a wide range of assistance, from high-tech monitoring to paid caregivers and volunteers to help people remain in their homes. Full Circle raises issues about privacy and the use of volunteers for a commercial firm, but participants seem to love it.

These are not just uplifting stories. They illuminate a critically important issue: With declining support from traditional families and government, elders will have to invent their own mutual support systems.

As the Boomers age, they will have fewer family members to care for them, thanks to their longer lives, fewer children, more divorces or their choices to never marry. Many will simply not have the money to live alone in their own home or in an assisted living or continuing care community. And in our current politics, government’s role in providing aging services and supports is shrinking.

That’s the reality. And it means that we are going to have to invent our own supports as we go. In her important and readable book, Beth shows us how some elders are doing just that.

 
Update
2

2 weeks ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new com ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

2 weeks ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the doubl ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

NASA spacecraft set for Mars orbit insertion Sep 21
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) NASA's Mars spacecraft is nearing its scheduled insertion into the Martian orbit Sep 21 after completing a 10 month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles.
 
 
Food poisoning leaves 320 people sick in China
Beijing, Sep 18 (IANS) At least 320 people in China have been hospitalised due to suspected food poisoning, health officials said Thursday.
 
 
Hubble discovers supermassive black hole
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) Astronomers including an Indian-origin scientist have found an unlikely object in an improbable place - a monster black hole lurking inside one of the tiniest galaxies ever known.
 
 
US media sees much at stake in Xi's India visit
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) As the US reiterated that it wanted India to have friendly relations with China, the US media suggested that there was much at stake in Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing visit to India.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Romanian PM files for presidential candidacy
Bucharest, Sep 18 (IANS) Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has filed his candidacy for the presidential elections in Nov. "I hope and wish to conclude 25 years of transition from dictatorship to a democratic,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Majority rule out re-election of French president
Paris, Sep 18 (IANS/EFE) Nearly nine out of 10 French people do not want President Francois Hollande to win another term in office in the next elections set for 2017, according to a survey released by Paris-Match...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
First NATO body launched in Bulgaria
Sofia, Sep 18 (IANS) Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has inaugurated the first NATO body in the country. The International Organisation Crisis Management and Disaster Response Centre of Excellence (CMDR COE) has...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Australian police detain 15 terror suspects
Canberra, Sep 18 (IANS) Police in Australia Thursday detained 15 people on terrorism-related offences during the biggest counter-terror raids in the country. More than 800 police officers conducted searches at 25...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Pharrell Williams believes in aliens
Pharrell Williams believes in alien life. The 'Happy' hitmaker thinks people are ''incredibly arrogant'' and ''pompous'' if they don't believe there are extra-terrestrials in the universe. Speaking to Stylist magazine,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
George Clooney's parents have wedding gift dilemma
George Clooney's parents don't know what to buy him as a wedding gift. The 'Monuments Men' star - who is worth a rumoured £100 million - will marry human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin at the end of this month but Nina,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
NASA spacecraft set for Mars orbit insertion Sep 21
Washington, Sep 18 (IANS) NASA's Mars spacecraft is nearing its scheduled insertion into the Martian orbit Sep 21 after completing a 10 month interplanetary journey of 442 million miles. The team, the flight system...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Liam Neeson writing script with Bono
Liam Neeson is writing a movie script with Bono. The actor has been working with the U2 singer on the story for the last ''six years'' and he is very excited about the project. Neeson revealed: ''We chat, or with him a...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Qatar vows to improve condition of immigrant workers
Berlin, Sep 18 (IANS/EFE) Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has vowed to promote reforms improving the condition of immigrants working on infrastructure for the 2022 Soccer World Cup that will be...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Food poisoning leaves 320 people sick in China
Beijing, Sep 18 (IANS) At least 320 people in China have been hospitalised due to suspected food poisoning, health officials said Thursday. According to the officials, most of the patients, aged three to 18 suffered...
Read more on Business Balla